Author Topic: First all grain worries  (Read 5953 times)

Offline BruDawg

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First all grain worries
« on: July 04, 2011, 01:25:43 PM »
Hi guys,
I'm going to start my first all grain batch been getting all the equipment i need (hopefully). Ill be using the 10 Gallon Igloo cooler from More Beer and set my recipe up from Beer-smith 1.4 My question is this i have been reading the threads alot and i don't seem to understand alot of what i am reading. Do i need to really pay attention to the efficiency of the beer and take so many hydrometer readings. Or is this just for perfecting the recipe. I was thinking just to follow the brew sheet and see how it turns out? What would you experienced guys recommend. Thanks BruDawg
It is better to be silent and thought of as an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: First all grain worries
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2011, 04:11:27 PM »
I found all grain to be intimidating on paper, and quite easy in practice.

First off, RDWHAHB. (if you don't know what that means, google it)

Efficiency matters, and then again it doesn't.  It matters greatly if you are selling the stuff, because you're throwing product away if you are not efficient.  As a homebrewer what might bankrupt a brewery means using an extra pound or two in a five gallon batch.  Big whoop.

It matters as a homebrewer when you are counting on a desired gravity to match your hops.  By "matters" knowing your efficiency is more important that maximizing it.  It's OK to have 65% efficiency if you plan for it accordingly.  If you base your hops on 85% efficiency, and get 65%, your brew will not turn out as planned. That doesn't mean it will be bad. Just not what you planned.

As far as taking hydrometer readings off your runnings goes, I wouldn't worry about it.  Maybe when you've got a dozen batches under your belt, but for your first batch it doesn't matter.

RDWHAHB
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

Offline BruDawg

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Re: First all grain worries
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2011, 10:05:13 PM »
Thanks Maine Homebrewer, Good advice will do
It is better to be silent and thought of as an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Offline BobBrews

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Re: First all grain worries
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2011, 08:36:28 AM »
BruDawg ,

           
Quote
I was thinking just to follow the brew sheet and see how it turns out?

That's the ticket! Here is my take on this. If you practice good cleaning habits, use fresh ingredients, stay fairly close to times and temperatures you will not need to worry about numbers. If you have a good fermentation leave it in the primary for three weeks or more. You will have a good beer! Your need to see numbers will be satisfied by looking at the printout you have been working from.

         There are three types of brewers. The Number lover or Chemist who loves to brew because they get to play with numbers and chemistry. Beer is a nice payback for getting to play with numbers. Replicating a beer exactly and sharing the recipe is part of it too! Strictly adhering to the BJCP styles.

        On the other side of the spectrum are people (like me) who like beer and (cooking) who only use numbers when they have too! They love to play with recipes and tweak them. If they create a great beer they can't replicate it because they didn't write it down "I'll remember it" I said! Amounts are rounded up or down and close is good enough! As long as the beer is good "Its good enough". Adhering to the BJCP styles is a laugh!

        The third type a brewer is somewhere in between. The gadget geek! A brewer who loves to invent new ways to brew. New toys that make brewing easier. Testing old methods against new one. Brewing beer is secondary to this budding engineer! Numbers count with them but not for numbers sake but for engineering purposes.

        Most brewers are a combination of all, some, or odd mixtures. Brewing can and is fun for all types of people. No type or method is better or more correct. The only thing that matters is the beer and camaraderie we develop over time.

        Sorry for the rant! Too much coffee not enough beer!
Bob Brews
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http://www.biabrewer.info

Offline Wombat

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Re: First all grain worries
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2011, 12:45:52 PM »
IMO, just relax and brew......drink one or three while brewing, it  will make the wort boil faster ;D   Keep good notes on the process so that if it turns out good you can make it again, and if it does not, then you know where you can change to make it better.  One last thing, remember to do an iodine check on the mash to see if it is all converted.  Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
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Offline jomebrew

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Re: First all grain worries
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2011, 09:15:41 AM »
The most important things you can do:

  • Be extreme about sanitation.  Clean and sanitize everything repeatedly.
  • Chill the wort to fermentation temp as fast as possible. Win the battle against the bugs.
  • Control the fermentation temperature. When you mess this up all the worries about process and efficiency go out the window.


Offline brewnut

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Re: First all grain worries
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2011, 06:36:44 AM »
Just work on the process and the efficiency will catch up later. As long as you keep sanitation as the #1 priority, the beer may not be what you planned, but will still be good. One of my best beers was a total train wreck that was supposed to be a triple IPA that came out at 54% efficiency due to bad grain milling. Instead the og was around 1.060, and the beer was great. That beer would have been a disaster for a commercial brewery. The way I look at it is that the brewing process is my hobby; the beer is a free end result.
I'm not a drunk...I'm an alcohol enthusiast

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: First all grain worries
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2011, 11:05:17 AM »
Do i need to really pay attention to the efficiency of the beer and take so many hydrometer readings. Or is this just for perfecting the recipe.


IMO, you do need to learn your system's efficiency so that you (and BSmith) can predict the OG you'll get with X amount of grain.  Once learned and loaded, forget it.  It's a "constant" unless you change equipment or screw up one brew day.  You can't taste efficiency, and at our home brew scale, efficiency is not important to the total cost of the batch. 

We can taste poor sanitation, stale ingredients, lack of yeast starters, lack of ferm temp control, among other issues.

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: First all grain worries
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2011, 04:33:20 PM »
Quote
If they create a great beer they can't replicate it because they didn't write it down

I wing it most of the time, but I still write everything down. I have never done a batch exactly the same, but I do build on good brews.
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

Offline crabbs

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Re: First all grain worries
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2011, 03:28:57 PM »
Relax and have a home brew,for your first batch ,definetly take  readings.,,, pre boil especially,thats your bread and butter, it will tell you if your in the ballpark or not.if your not you can adjust volume and hop schedule accordingly to your gravity.you can also add gravity with dme ,lme ,corn sugar etc.,,you will figure your efficiency with some time only if you take readings .you may want to base your first batch at 65%though , just in case .there are alot of factors involved,but dont be overwhelmed though it will be second nature soon .

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: First all grain worries
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2011, 06:37:11 PM »
I measure the gravity before I pitch the yeast (at this point I have total volume and ingredients which allows me to calculate efficiency. I'm at around 75% which is sh*t for a professional and perfectly acceptable for me) and before the brew goes into the keg.
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

 

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